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University at Buffalo Law School records

Identifier: LSC-02-UBLS

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials generated by and for the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Law. The collection contains material on planning, accreditation, and curriculum; and biographical information on the school’s deans and faculty members. There are a number of internal and external publications including UB Law Links (an electronic newsletter), course schedules, commencement programs, and annual reports and published 75-year and centennial histories. Also included is information on the James McCormick Mitchell Lecture Series (held annually since 1951) and John Lord O’Brian Hall, the home of the Law School on UB’s North Campus, as well as notable issues that the school and faculty addressed.

Notable files include materials on the landmark Supreme Court case, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 379 (1965) which held that the Connecticut law forbidding use of contraceptives unconstitutionally intrudes upon the right of marital privacy. Robert B. Fleming (’51), former associate dean, authored an amicus brief on the case on which the court based much of its opinion.


  • 1898 - 2021
  • Bulk: Majority of material found within 1956 - 2021


Terms of Access

The bulk of the University at Buffalo Law School Records are open for use except the ABA/AALS Inspection documents. Materials can be examined by qualified researchers in the Law Library during hours of operation during which Law Reference Librarians are present. In order to insure access, researchers are advised to contact the Law Library in advance of visits.


Law School created records are in the public domain. Patrons wishing to publish any item, or part of an item from this collection for any purpose, are responsible for securing requisite permissions for materials not created by the Law School. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

Established in May 1887, the Buffalo Law School originated as the Law Department of Niagara University. In May 1891 it became part of the University of Buffalo and held its third commencement. ABA accredited in 1937 in its 50th anniversary year. In 1962 when UB joined SUNY, it became the only publicly funded law school in New York State until CUNY Law School was added in 1981(?). An LL.B. degree was awarded until 1967; the J.D. degree has been awarded since 1968.

Two histories have been published and are located in Box 28: Buffalo Law School 75 Years (1962) and University at Buffalo Law School 100 Years 1887-1987 (1992). The UB Law Forum published irregularly since 1985 chronicles events beyond these published histories and is located in the Law Library Special Collections 03.

The official name of the institution has changed over the years: University of Buffalo. School of Law (1887-1961); State University of New York at Buffalo. School of Law (1962-1967); State University of New York at Buffalo. Faculty of Law and Jurisprudence (1968-1988); State University of New York at Buffalo. School of Law (1989-1997 ); University at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York (1998-)

  • 1887-1888 Niagara Medical School, Ellicott Street
  • 1888-1893 The Buffalo Library, Clinton Street
  • 1893-1896 Stafford Building, upper floor, 158 Pearl Street
  • 1896-1913 Ellicott Square Building, 9th floor
  • 1913-1917 Third National Bank Building, 275 Main Street at Swan
  • 1923- 1949? Townsend Hall, sw corner of Delaware Ave. and Niagara Square (present site of Buffalo City Court), served as temporary lecture space
  • 1917-1948 77 West Eagle Street, original building (Hoyt Mansion housed law firm of Hoyt Spratt)
  • 1949 Temporary classes held in the County Building, 40 Delaware (present site of Erie County Holding Center)
  • 1949-1973 77 West Eagle Street, new building
  • 1966-1969 Prudential Building
  • 1973- O’Brian Hall, UB North Campus, Amherst


27.53 Linear Feet (57 manuscript boxes, 2 11x14 boxes, 1 11x17 box)

Language of Materials



Materials accumulated by the Law Library generated by the Law School or about the Law School including administrative and faculty reports and records, commemorative booklets, publications, photographs, correspondence, clippings, external ephemera, etc.


The collection is arranged in nineteen series:

I. Accreditation and Evaluation

II. Annual Reports

III. Clinic Programs

IV. Commencement

V. Course Schedules

VI. Curriculum Development

VII. Deans of the Law School

VIII. Faculty

A. General

B. Faculty Meetings

C. Faculty Committees

D. Griswold v. Connecticut

E. Faculty Biographies and Publications

F. Conference on Critical Legal Studies

G. Teaching Materials

IX. Grading

X. History

XI. Mitchell Lecture

A. General

B. Lecture Reprints

C. Posters

XII. O’Brian Hall

XIII. Planning

XIV. Students

XV. Communications

A. UB Law Links, Newsletter

B. Print Publications

XVI. Miscellaneous

XVII. Photographs

XVIII. Alumni

A. Alumni Convocations

XIX. Dalai Lama Visit, Sept. 2006

XX. Subject File

XXI. Law Library Dean's File

Most series are organized either alphabetically or chronologically. Please note, Series V contains Law School Course Schedules from 1958 to Spring 2009, however schedules from the 1979/1980 academic year are missing. Series VII contains two general files and is then organized alphabetically by last name. Similarly, Series XI contains two general files and is then organized chronologically by year of lecture.

Acquisition Information

Materials collected by the Law Library in irregular manner. Donor noted where known for individual materials. Prof. Wade J. Newhouse made generous donation of many of his personal files, as did Prof. and former dean Jacob D. Hyman.

Accruals and Additions

Irregular accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

University at Buffalo Law School Serials, Law Spec. Coll.03 Uncataloged serials printed by the Law School such as bulletins, handbooks, facebooks, yearbooks, commencement bulletins, exams, and student newspapers.

Law School Alumni Association, State University of New York at Buffalo, Law Spec. Coll.01 Materials generated by or about the Law School Alumni Association’s Board of Directors.

Charles B. Sears Law Library Records, Law Spec. Coll.04 Materials generated or collected by various departments in the Law Library including administrative and faculty reports, correspondence, exhibits, publications, photographs, clippings, etc.

Separated Materials

The Oversize item in Series XIV is located in the cabinet in the Special Collections Librarian's office. The two items in Series XVI marked Oversize hang on the wall of the Special Collections Room. DVD in Series XVI is in the Digital Archive Backup box.

Processing Information

Processed by Karen Walton Morse, December 2002 and Karen L. Spencer, December 2002, January and March 2007. Additional materials processed by Christine George, and Ellen McGrath, 2016 to 2020. Additions processed by John Beatty, January to February, 2022.

Finding Aid for the University at Buffalo Law School records
Finding aid prepared by Karen L. Spencer.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Charles B. Sears Law Library Repository

O'Brian Hall
Buffalo New York 14260 United States